Hanlon's Razor is a saying commonly summarized as "Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice". Named for "Robert Hanlon"--probably a corruption of the author Robert Heinlein. There are many variations, but the general idea is that same. Also known in British English as the "Cock-Up Theory".
Person 1: Dude, my stimulus check was $600 less than it should be. The government is trying to screw me!
Person 2: Hanlon's Razor, man. They probably had faulty information for you.
by YoungLibertarian August 7, 2008
Get the Hanlon's Razor mug.
"Attribute not to malice what can be attributed to stupidity" or "cock-up before conspiracy"
-One of the most important lessons never taught in schools
"The driver just cut me off the prick!"
"Hanlon's Razor, my friend, Hanlon's Razor"
by jltdkllr July 26, 2011
Get the Hanlon's Razor mug.
Logical fallacy around the mantra “Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice”.
In reality, acting like “Whoops, sorry! Stoopid me!”, so the victim is willing to forgive you for longer, is the oldest trick in the book of evil.
Mostly used by anxious sheltered people when overwhelmed by reality .
Not necessarily wrong. But not necessarily right *either*. There simply is no rational basis for it. It is useless. Its false sense of security can itself be harmful again. Purely exists as a coping fantasy. Same thing as conspiracy theorists (−1) , but with an opposite polarity (+1).
Risen in popularity in late 2010s, due to an anxiety epidemic in young people caused by over-sheltering parents, for-profit fear media, over-prescription abuse, and several bad events (pandemic, wars, …).

The real way to tell evil from stupid is:
*Evil has a goal*. Its actions *converge* towards that.
Stupid is incompetent. Its actions *diverge* (into chaos).
Catch 1: Stupid people can *still* be useful pawns for evil people, and follow them. (See example.)
Catch 2: There doesn’t *have* to be an evil person. It may be emergent behavior in a group. (Proof: Your body’s cells aren’t smart. Yet together they can act smart.)
Usually it’s more complex, but that’s the gist.

In the end, stupid is already harmful. It wastes resources and slows advancement down. That is evil.
While evil is already stupid. As teamwork (being nice) is clearly an evolutionary advantage.
Leader figure A: Evil (scapegoat group B) are invading our (group A), destroying our (values) and taking our (valuables)! = Evil. Goal: Power
Group B, Pawn 2: Durk urr durr! Kill all (group B)! =Stupid. Goal: Whatever dear leader A says.
Group A, Anxious traumatized person 3: OMG, (group B) is destroying our (group A)! They are evil! Hyper-focused on anything remotely similar to the previous trauma: “It *must* be real!” Goal: Safety through avoidance.
Group A, Anxious *black-eyed* person 4: Calm down, it’s just Hanlon's Razor! Everything is fine. Nothing to see here, move on. Hyper-focused on anything remotely similar to the previous *safe space*: “It CAN’T be real!” Goal: Safety through ignorance.

(As you can see, everyone in this example is wrong, and merely driven by their anxiety, clinging to what they grew up with that seemingly lets them handle reality.)
by Evi1M4chine April 3, 2023
Get the Hanlon's Razor mug.